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Running DNA Like a Computer Could Help You Fight Viruses One … – WIRED

Posted: February 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

Slide: 1 / of 1. Caption: Getty Images

Dont take this the wrong way, but youre just data. Genes built you, from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head. In that sense, youre not unlike a computer: Code produces the output that is your body.

In fact, for the past two decades, scientists have usedactual DNA as if it were literal code, a process calledDNA computing, to do things like calculating square roots. Today, researchers report in the journal Nature Communications that theyve deployed DNA to detect antibodiessoldiers yourbody produces to fight viruses and suchby running a sequence of molecular instructions.Someday, the same kind of calculations could automatically release drugs in response to infections.

The key to making it all work is that DNA strands really like to stick to each otherin very specific ways. In a test tube, you mix a bunch of DNA molecules, says Maarten Merkx, a biochemist at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and a lead author on the new paper. By choosing the sequences right, they undergo a series of reactions. A single strand from one double-helical molecule of DNA attaches to astrand from a different DNA molecule, a process calledhybridization that creates a newDNA molecule, which in turn combines with yet more DNA in the mix. Think about what happens if you mix orange juice and champagne: You get something novel and quite frankly better.

Critically, certain combinations of certain DNA molecules happen only in the presence of an antibody. If you add together the right molecules, you can get a signal out of the system when that particular hybridization happens. Thats kind of like what happens in a computer cranking code; hybridization is the yes or the 1 and a lack of hybridization is a no or the zero. In this case, the scientists added ingredients so that the DNA would fluoresce if the hybridizations happened just rightthats the output.

Sure, you can test blood for antibodies. Thats the old fashioned way. The idea here is to one day use DNA computing as a persistent monitor for antibodies. You could use that setup to create DNA nanocapsules carryingdrugs. The DNA that our DNA computer produces can be used to unlock this capsule, says Merkx. His team was looking specifically at viruses like influenza and HIV, so maybe the package could deliver more virus-killing antibodies.

The study also represents a leap in how DNA computing works in general. It certainly offers another tool in the toolbox of those who want to design complex computing strategies, says Philip Santangelo, a bioengineer at Georgia Tech who wasnt involved in the research. You could use proteins and enzymes to build computing architectures that use many biomolecules, not just DNA. More complexity means more precision and sophistication in the kinds of programs scientists can run.

So sure, you may just be data. But in the right hands, that data could one day do wonders for medicine.

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Oregon’s Euthanasia Bill Is Intentionally Ambiguous – National Review

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:45 am

Savagery can be subtle.

Oregon, which in 1997 became the first state in the U.S. to legalize assisted suicide, is considering tweaking the laws surrounding advance directives, the legal documents by means of which a person can dictate ahead of time his desires for end-of-life care. The innocuous-seeming changes that Senate Bill 494 proposes would permit the state to starve certain patients to death.

Under current state law, artificially administered nutrition and hydration intravenous feeding by tubes does not include food administered normally: by cup, hand, bottle, drinking straw or eating utensil. The latter category, unlike the former, is considered part of the basic provision of care required for the sick, and required by law as long as the patient is mentally incompetent to say otherwise.

In 2016, Bill Harris of Ashland, Ore., asked a state court to order a nursing facility to stop providing food and water to his wife, Nora, who suffers from Alzheimers disease. Nora could no longer communicate and had lost use of her fine-motor skills, making it impossible for her to use utensils, so the facility had begun spoon-feeding her. According to the nursing facility, Nora continued to choose whether she wanted to eat or not, and the facility never coerced her. Nonetheless, her husband maintained that when she stated in her advance directive that she did not want artificial nutrition, she intended all forms of feeding.

The courts decided against Bill Harris, but S.B. 494, introduced last month and currently under consideration in committee, would reshape the law to suit him. The bill removes the statutory definition of tube feeding and life support, and replaces the word desires with preferences. To the requirement in its advance-directive forms that my healthcare representative must follow my instructions, the bill adds: to the extent appropriate. It also removes the statutory definition of health care instruction.

These understated changes are intended to create interpretive ambiguity. Under the amended bill, would Nora Harriss rejection of artificial nutrition and hydration include being fed by a nurse at her bedside? Even though she is conscious, willful, and able to eat, does continuing to feed her constitute life support? Under S.B. 494, these questions would be left up to the courts, or to regulatory bodies such as the Advance Directive Rules Adoption Committee, which the bill creates ex nihilo. The committees members would be appointed by the governor and have sole authority to revise the states advance-directive forms that is, to continue the subversive work of the legislature without meaningful oversight.

The state of Oregon is, in a word, making it easier for the state of Oregon to kill its most vulnerable citizens.

It seems of little interest to the states legislators that their enterprise is a reversal of the states purpose to protect the preexisting right to life, not to bestow that right on citizens of its choosing. Likewise, Oregons legislators seem little concerned with the possibility that the expansion of a governments claim to its citizens lives accrues a momentum of its own; there is a straight line between this bill and a recent incident in the Netherlands, where the family of a dementia patient held her down as she resisted euthanasia.

But it is worse. Having destroyed the professional oath to which doctors are bound, Oregon would destroy the basic ethic of care that is the mark of a humane society the expectation that says to tend the sick, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless. I was hungry and you gave me food. Under the auspices of a false mercy, Oregon would demand the opposite: to greet Nora Harris, or someone like her a person who is conscious, who is mobile, who expresses emotion and harbors desires and to reject her. Human beings meet each other in the recognition of mutual vulnerability. Oregon would craft a society only for the strong.

That has been attempted before, of course, many times, and it has effected only more brutality. Weakness, by contrast, is an occasion for love to reveal itself, unfolding in a moment of grace. No suffering can entirely occlude this hope. In the final accounting, life is always and everywhere good, and so it is where it is most vulnerable that it demands the fiercest defense.

Ian Tuttle is the Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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GAIA to play closing act at this massive Trance festival – Trance Hub (satire) (press release) (blog)

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:31 am

In case many of you didnt know, Electronic Family has become a weekend affair and will be held on 5th and 6th of August2017. Thiswill be turned into the biggest outdoor trance festival of Europe. Tucked away in the south of the Netherlands, Autotron Rosmalen is the perfect location for a family gathering. The lush and greenscenery offers spacious camping spots and enough room for multiple stages, for varying trance styles.

They have added GAIA as their closing act on Sunday 6th August. Heres what they had to say

Weve listened to your requests and were incredibly proud that Gaia will be closing the mainstage on Sunday August 6th! They havent played in the Netherlands since 2014, can you imagine what an incredible set thats going to be?

With Aly & Fila closing our mainstage on Saturday and Gaia closing on Sunday, you really want to join us for the whole weekend!

Regular ticket sales will start tomorrow 10AM CET via electronicfamily.nl!

Co-Founder of Trance Hub, Curator of The Gathering events in India and ALT+TRANCE in Czech Republic. By day, a Digital Marketing Enthusiast with love for Food and Technology. By night, a dreamer who wants to grow the Trance scene in India.

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220 Dutch doctors take out ad to oppose euthanasia for patients with dementia – National Right to Life News

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:46 pm

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article written last week by Janene Pieters and published in the NL Times reports

A group of 220 Dutch doctors took out an advertisement in NRC [a daily evening newspaper] on Friday to show that they are against granting euthanasia to advanced dementia patients. The doctors believe its wrong to give euthanasia based on a statement which the patient can no longer confirm.

Our moral reluctance to end the life of a defenseless human being is too big, the ad reads. Among the signers are also doctors specialized in helping patients die.

According to the article, there have been three cases of people with advanced dementia who died by euthanasia since December 2015.

Pieters explained

The rules for euthanasia for elderly people with dementia were adjusted in December 2015. The Ministries of Public Health and Security and Justice changed the euthanasia guidelines to state that euthanasia can be granted to advanced dementia patients if they made a written declaration with this wish while they were still lucid.

Before this adaption, a patient had to express the desire for death himself. But this is no longer required.

Recently a Netherlands euthanasia review committee decided that the doctor of a woman with dementia, who had previously stated in an advanced directive that she wanted euthanasia, should not have put a sedative in her coffee and should not have had her family hold her down while he lethally injected her.

But the committee also stated that the forced euthanasia was done in good faith.

Editors note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenbergs blog and is reposted with permission.

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Thank You, Obama: US Steadily Lost Ground On Economic Freedom Over Past 8 Years – Investor’s Business Daily

Posted: at 9:10 pm

The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom compares countries on a number of measures of how free their economies are. (Heritage.org)

Economy: The U.S. currently ranks a dispiriting 17th on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. That’s down from 6th when Obama took office in 2009. The question isn’t whether President Trump can turn this dismal trend around, it’s whether Democrats will let him.

The Heritage Foundation has been publishing this index since 1995. It measures things like property rights, fiscal health, business freedom, tax burden, government spending, rule of law and other indicators of economic freedom in 186 countries. Based on these, each country gets an overall freedom index score, which then can be ranked against other countries.

As Heritage points out, there is good reason to focus on these measures of economic freedom, since theydirectly correlate with a country’s growth and prosperity. “The affirmative link between economic freedom and long-term development is unmistakable and robust,” the report notes. “The higher a country’s level of economic freedom is, the higher its income per capita also is.”

The good news is that economic freedom worldwide has been inching up for the past two decades. It went from a low of 57.1 in 1996 to 60.9 today.

The bad news is that it’s been on the decline in the U.S. since 2008, when it stood at 80.7. Since then, it has dropped every year but one under Obama, and now measures 75.1. That’s the lowest score for the U.S. since Heritage started this index 22 years ago.

As a result, the U.S. now ranks behind Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand Canada, Taiwan, the U.K., Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Even Lithuania currently has more economic freedom than the U.S.

“The substantial expansion of government’s size and scope, increased regulatory and tax burdens, and the loss of confidence that has accompanied a growing perception of cronyism, elite privilege, and corruption have severely undermined America’s global competitiveness,” the report finds.

In other words, the U.S. index was dragged down by Obama’s anti-growth war on businesses, investors and other productive elements of the economy.

Not surprisingly, the past eight years have also been characterized by historically low economic growth rates, with annual GDP growth never once hitting 3% under Obama.

Turning this around should be a priority in Washington for both Republicans and Democrats. Faster economic growth is desperately needed, not only to create jobs and increase prosperity, but to reduce the federal government’s yawning deficits and mountain of debt.

Unfortunately, Democrats and the mainstream press are entirely focused on destroying the Trump administration before it has the chance to put forward any of its pro-growth proposals.

If the U.S. continues to slide down the scale of economic freedom and the economy continues to struggle, the blame will rest on the shoulders of these obstructionists.


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What is Nato, what does Nato stand for, how does it keep Europe safe and what is Britain’s defence spending? – The Sun

Posted: at 9:00 pm

How has the role of the world’s largest military alliance changed?

AFTER the Second World War 12 countries came together to sign the agreement that formed Nato.

But, more than 60 years on what is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, what does it do and is it keeping us safe?


Nato, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is an intergovernmental military alliance established in 1949.

Nato was formed with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949 by 12 member states Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK and the US.

It has expanded to 28 member states, with countries including Germany, Spain, Greece and Turkey joining, andrepresents a population of more than 900 million people.

The organisation isconsidered to be the largest and most powerful military alliance in history.

Nato iscommitted to individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law with all decisions taken by consensus.

Thepermanent headquarters of Nato is in Brussels where the Secretary General chairs senior decision making bodies.

The current Secretary General is former Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg.

Heads of government and state have met at 26 Nato summits since 1949 the latest in Poland in July 2016.

Nato aims tosafeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.

It was established primarily tokeep Europe safe by deterring any attack.

In 1949 this involved stopping Soviet expansion, preventing a revival of nationalistic militarism in Europe and encouraging European political integration.

But, over time the organisationhas changed and in recent years it has become increasingly focused on peacekeeping.

Getty Images

Nato is best known for Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – in which members pledge to come to the aid of any member state under attack.

Article 5 has only been invoked once, following the September 11 attacks in America.

Nato isprimarily a deterrent. If a member state is attacked the attacker must go to war with all members, including the US.

The organisation, which is credited with the escalation of theCold War, carries out its own military missions using the troops of member states.

In 1995 ithelped to end the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in 1999 worked to stop mass killings in Kosovo.

Nato has been in Afghanistan on counter-terrorism missions since 2003 and in 2011 moved to protect the people of Libya.

Nato has been providing support as Europe copes with the refugee and migrant crisis.

Defence spending was revealed to have dropped below the Government’s two per cent target last year,respected think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies said.

But Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon insisted 2.1 per cent had been spent, with the new report blaming the shortfall on not keeping up with the growing economy.

The embarrassing dip comes after it was revealed just two countries in Nato met the defence benchmark -Estonia and debt-riddled Greece.


Jeremy Corbyn sparks outrage with call for NATO to step down from Baltic border in order to avoid new Cold War

Vladimir Putin MUST be put in his place during Donald Trumps first 100 days as US president, ex Nato chief demands

War with Russia imminent unless Britain and NATO heed Trumps warning to increase military spending, defence chiefs warn

Vladimir Putin fleet drives off Nato sub using attack helicopters in the Mediterranean as Moscow flexes its muscles

Nato sends 300,000-strong defence force to the frontline with Russia amid claims Putins hordes could overwhelm Europe in less than 180 days

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Principality of Sealand – Wikipedia

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 11:49 am

For more information about the structure claimed by Sealand see HM Fort Roughs

The Principality of Sealand is an unrecognised micronation that claims Roughs Tower, an offshore platform located in the North Sea approximately 12 kilometres (7.5mi) off the coast of Suffolk, England, as its territory. Roughs Tower is a disused Maunsell Sea Fort, originally called HM Fort Roughs, built as an anti-aircraft defensive gun platform by the British during World War II.[3][4]

Since 1967, the decommissioned HM Fort Roughs has been occupied by family and associates of Paddy Roy Bates, who claim that it is an independent sovereign state.[3] Bates seized it from a group of pirate radio broadcasters in 1967 with the intention of setting up his own station at the site.[5] He attempted to establish Sealand as a nation-state in 1975 with the writing of a national constitution and establishment of other national symbols.[3]

While it has been described as the world’s smallest country[6] or nation,[7] Sealand is not officially recognised by any established sovereign state in spite of Sealand’s government’s claim that it has been de facto recognised by the United Kingdom[3] and Germany.[8] The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in force since 1994 states “Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf”.[9] Since 1987, Sealand lies within the territorial waters of the United Kingdom.

Bates moved to the mainland when he became elderly, naming his son Michael regent. Bates died in October 2012 at the age of 91.[10] Michael lives in Suffolk, England.[11]

In 1943, during World War II, HM Fort Roughs (sometimes called Roughs Tower) was constructed by the United Kingdom as one of the Maunsell Forts,[12] primarily to defend the vital shipping lanes in nearby estuaries against German Navy mine-laying aircraft. It consisted of a floating pontoon base with a superstructure of two hollow towers joined by a deck upon which other structures could be added. The fort was towed to a position above the Rough Sands sandbar, where its base was deliberately flooded to sink it on its final resting place. This is approximately 7 nautical miles (13km) from the coast of Suffolk, outside the then 3nmi (6km) claim of the United Kingdom and, therefore, in international waters.[12] The facility was occupied by 150300 Royal Navy personnel throughout World War II; the last full-time personnel left in 1956.[12]

Roughs Tower was occupied in February and August 1965 by Jack Moore and his daughter Jane, squatting on behalf of the pirate station Wonderful Radio London.

On 2 September 1967, the fort was occupied by Major Paddy Roy Bates, a British subject and pirate radio broadcaster, who ejected a competing group of pirate broadcasters.[5] Bates intended to broadcast his pirate radio station called Radio Essex from the platform.[13] Despite having the necessary equipment, he never began broadcasting.[14] Bates declared the independence of Roughs Tower and deemed it the Principality of Sealand.[5]

In 1968, British workmen entered what Bates claimed to be his territorial waters in order to service a navigational buoy near the platform. Michael Bates (son of Paddy Roy Bates) tried to scare the workmen off by firing warning shots from the former fort. As Bates was a British subject at the time, he was summoned to court in England on firearms charges following the incident.[15] But as the court ruled that the platform (which Bates was now calling “Sealand”) was outside British territorial limits, being beyond the then 3-nautical-mile (6km) limit of the country’s waters, the case could not proceed.[16]

In 1975, Bates introduced a constitution for Sealand, followed by a national flag, a national anthem, a currency and passports.[3]

In August 1978, Alexander Achenbach, who describes himself as the Prime Minister of Sealand, hired several German and Dutch mercenaries to spearhead an attack on Sealand while Bates and his wife were in England.[8] They stormed the platform with speedboats, jet skis and helicopters, and took Bates’ son Michael hostage. Michael was able to retake Sealand and capture Achenbach and the mercenaries using weapons stashed on the platform. Achenbach, a German lawyer who held a Sealand passport, was charged with treason against Sealand[8] and was held unless he paid DM75,000 (more than US$35,000 or 23,000).[17] The governments of the Netherlands, Austria and Germany petitioned the British government for his release, but the United Kingdom disavowed his imprisonment, citing the 1968 court decision.[3] Germany then sent a diplomat from its London embassy to Sealand to negotiate for Achenbach’s release. Roy Bates relented after several weeks of negotiations and subsequently claimed that the diplomat’s visit constituted de facto recognition of Sealand by Germany.[8]

Following the former’s repatriation, Achenbach and Gernot Ptz established a government in exile, sometimes known as the Sealand Rebel Government or Sealandic Rebel Government, in Germany.[8] Achenbach’s appointed successor, Johannes Seiger, continues to claim via his website that he is Sealand’s legitimate ruling authority.[18]

The claim that Sealand is an independent sovereign state is based on an interpretation of a 1968 decision of an English court, in which it was held that Roughs Tower was in international waters and thus outside the jurisdiction of the domestic courts.[3]

In international law, the most common schools of thought for the creation of statehood are the constitutive and declaratory theories of state creation. The constitutive theory is the standard nineteenth-century model of statehood, and the declaratory theory was developed in the twentieth century to address shortcomings of the constitutive theory. In the constitutive theory, a state exists exclusively via recognition by other states. The theory splits on whether this recognition requires ‘diplomatic recognition’ or merely ‘recognition of existence’. No other state grants Sealand official recognition, but it has been argued by Bates that negotiations carried out by Germany following a brief hostage incident constituted ‘recognition of existence’ (and, since the German government reportedly sent an ambassador to the tower, diplomatic recognition). In the declaratory theory of statehood, an entity becomes a state as soon as it meets the minimal criteria for statehood. Therefore, recognition by other states is purely ‘declaratory’.[33]

In 1987, the UK extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles (6 to 22km). Sealand now sits inside British waters.[34] The United Kingdom is one of 165 parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (in force since 1994), which states in Part V, Article 60, that: ‘Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf’.[9] In the opinion of law academic John Gibson, there is little chance that Sealand would be recognised as a nation because it is a man-made structure.[34]

Irrespective of its legal status, Sealand is managed by the Bates family as if it were a recognised sovereign entity and they are its hereditary royal rulers. Roy Bates styled himself as ‘Prince Roy’ and his widow ‘Princess Joan’. Their son is known as ‘His Royal Highness Prince Michael’ and has been referred to as the ‘Prince Regent’ by the Bates family since 1999.[35] In this role, he apparently serves as Sealand’s acting ‘Head of State’ and also its ‘Head of Government’.[36] At a micronations conference hosted by the University of Sunderland in 2004, Sealand was represented by Michael Bates’ son James. The facility is now occupied by one or more caretakers representing Michael Bates, who himself resides in Essex, England.[35]

Sealand’s constitution was instituted in 1974. It consists of a preamble and seven articles.[37] The preamble asserts Sealand’s independence, while the articles variously deal with Sealand’s status as a constitutional monarchy, the empowerment of government bureaux, the role of an appointed, advisory senate, the functions of an appointed, advisory legal tribunal, a proscription against the bearing of arms except by members of a designated ‘Sealand Guard’, the exclusive right of the sovereign to formulate foreign policy and alter the constitution, and the hereditary patrilinear succession of the monarchy.[38] Sealand’s legal system is claimed to follow British common law, and statutes take the form of decrees enacted by the sovereign.[39] Sealand has issued “fantasy passports” (as termed by the Council of the European Union), which are not valid for international travel,[40] and holds the Guinness World Record for ‘the smallest area to lay claim to nation status’.[41] Sealand’s motto is E Mare Libertas (From the Sea, Freedom). It appears on Sealandic items such as stamps, passports and coins and is the title of the Sealandic anthem. The anthem was composed by Londoner Basil Simonenko;[42] being an instrumental anthem, it does not have lyrics. In 2005, the anthem was recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and released on their CD National Anthems of the World, Vol. 7: Qatar Syria.

Sealand has been involved in several commercial operations, including the issuing of coins and postage stamps and the establishment of an offshore Internet hosting facility, or ‘data haven’.[43][44] Sealand also has an official website and publishes an online newspaper, Sealand News.[45] In addition, a number of amateur athletes ‘represent’ Sealand in sporting events, including unconventional events like the egg throwing world championship, which the Sealand team won in 2008.[46]

Several dozen different Sealand coins have been minted since 1972. In the early 1990s, Achenbach’s German group also produced a coin, featuring a likeness of ‘Prime Minister Seiger’.[47] Sealand’s coins and postage stamps are denominated in ‘Sealand dollars’, which it deems to be at parity with the U.S. dollar.[48] Sealand first issued postage stamps in 1969, and issues through 1977. No further stamps were produced until 2010. Sealand is not a member of the Universal Postal Union, therefore its inward address is a PO Box in the United Kingdom.[49] Once an item is mailed to Sealand’s tourist and government office, it will then be taken to Sealand. Sealand only has one street address, The Row.[50]

A Sealand mailing address looks like this:[50]

Bureau of Internal Affairs 5, The Row SEALAND 1001 (c/o Sealand Post Bag, IP11 9SZ, UK)

Sealand also sells titles of individual nobility including Lord, Baron, Count and those titles’ distaff equivalents. Following Roy Bates’ 2012 death, Sealand also began publicly offering knighthoods & Coats of Arms.[51][52]

In 1978, following the invasion, the Knights of the Sovereign Military Order of Sealand was formed by Prince Roy and Prince Michael to provide for the Principality’s defense should it come under threat or attack. In 2012, following the passing of Prince Roy, membership in the Order was opened to sale to the general public.[53]

In 2000, worldwide publicity was created about Sealand following the establishment of a new entity called HavenCo, a data haven, which effectively took control of Roughs Tower itself; however, Ryan Lackey, HavenCo’s founder, later quit and claimed that Bates had lied to him by keeping the 19901991 court case[clarification needed] from him and that, as a result, he had lost the money he had invested in the venture.[54] In November 2008, operations of HavenCo ceased without explanation.[55]

Sealand is not recognized by any major international sporting body, and its population is insufficient to maintain a team composed entirely of Sealanders in any team sport. However, Sealand claims to have official national athletes, including non-Sealanders. These athletes take part in various sports, such as curling, mini-golf, football, fencing, ultimate frisbee, table football and athletics, although all its teams compete out of the country.[56] The Sealand National Football Association is an associate member of the Nouvelle Fdration-Board, a football sanctioning body for non-recognised states and states not members of FIFA. It administers the Sealand national football team. In 2004 the national team played its first international game against land Islands national football team, drawing 22.[57]

Sealand claims that its first official athlete was Darren Blackburn of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, who was appointed in 2003. Blackburn has represented Sealand at a number of local sporting events, including marathons and off-trail races.[58] In 2004, mountaineer Slader Oviatt carried the Sealandic flag to the top of Muztagh Ata.[59] Also in 2007, Michael Martelle represented the Principality of Sealand in the World Cup of Kung Fu, held in Quebec City, Canada; bearing the designation of Athleta Principalitas Bellatorius (Principal Martial Arts Athlete and Champion), Martelle won two silver medals, becoming the first-ever Sealand athlete to appear on a world championship podium.[60]

In 2008, Sealand hosted a skateboarding event with Church and East sponsored by Red Bull.[61][62][63] Sealand’s fencing team is located in the United States, affiliated with the University of California, Irvine.

In 2009, Sealand announced the revival of the Football Association and their intention to compete in a future Viva World Cup. Scottish author Neil Forsyth was appointed as President of the Sealand Football Association.[64] Sealand played the second game in their history against Chagos Islands on 5 May 2012, losing 31. The team included actor Ralf Little and former Bolton Wanderers defender Simon Charlton.[65]

In 2009 and 2010, Sealand sent teams to play in various ultimate frisbee club tournaments in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands. They placed 11th at UK nationals in 2010.[66]

From early summer of 2012 Sealand has been represented in the flat track variant of roller derby, by a team principally composed of skaters from the South Wales area.[67]

Sealand played a friendly match in aid of charity against an “All Stars” team from Fulham F.C. on 18 May 2013, losing 57.[68][69]

On 22 May 2013, the mountaineer Kenton Cool placed a Sealand flag at the summit of Mount Everest.[70]

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New Genetic Markers for COPD Discovered – HealthCanal.com (press release) (blog)

Posted: at 10:47 am

Research consortium led by Brigham and Womens Hospital identifies 13 new genetic regions associated with COPD and shared risk factors for pulmonary fibrosis

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet there are no effective medicines that improve mortality from the disease. While smoking remains the single most important risk factor for COPD, genetics also play an important role. In a new Research Letter published in Nature Geneticson Feb. 6, 2017, investigators describe 13 new genetic regions associated with COPD, including four that have not previously been associated with any type of lung function. The researchers also found overlap of the genetic risk of COPD with two other lung diseases, asthma and pulmonary fibrosis. These findings create an improved understanding of the genetic basis for this deadly disease.

We are excited about these findings because we have not only uncovered new genetic risk factors for COPD, but also shown overlap of COPD genetic risk with the risk to asthma and pulmonary fibrosis, said lead author Brian Hobbs, MD, MMSc a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicineand Pulmonary and Critical Care Divisionof BWH. This is the first step in a longer process in which we hope to better understand the genetic basis for COPD, or what may be several different diseases that present as COPD. Now that we know there are new regions of the genome associated with COPD, we can build on this research by probing new biological pathways with the ultimate goal of improving therapies for our patients with this disease.

Researchers conducted a genome-wide association study of risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a large, multi-ancestry cohort (15,256 cases and 47,936 controls). This type of study allows investigators to look across a comprehensive set of genetic variants in different individuals to see if any variant is associated with disease. Top findings from this study were replicated in a second cohort. The authors also sought to understand more about their findings by examining overlap with other diseases and examining what was known about gene function in these regions. In addition to identifying 13 new genetic regions associated with COPD, they also discovered four genetic regions that were not previously associated with any lung function trait. Nine of the genetic regions have been identified as playing an important role in lung function. Two have previously shown an association with pulmonary fibrosis; however, the specific forms of these genetic variants that increase risk for COPD decrease risk for pulmonary fibrosis. All analyses accounted for the effects of age, gender, and cigarette smoking on disease risk.

While it is extremely important that patients not smoke for many health reasons including the prevention of COPD we know that smoking cessation may not be enough to stave off the disease, said Michael Cho, MD, MPH, one of the senior authors of this manuscript and a physician-researcher in the Channing Division of Network Medicine and Pulmonary and Critical Care Division. Many patients with COPD experience self-blame, but they may be comforted to know that genetics does play a role in who ultimately develops the disease.

The BWH group also co-authored a companion paper in the same issue of Nature Genetics, led by researchers from the University of Leicester and University of Nottingham. In this large study of lung function in the UK population, they almost doubled the number of genetic variants associated with lung function levels, and found a strong association between this combined genetic risk score and COPD.

This research was conducted by the International COPD Genetics Consortium, a collaborative research effort established in 2010 at a conference at BWH. Marike Boezen, PhD, of the University of Groningen, co-led the study with Cho. The consortium now involves more than 20 studies around the world.

This work is representative of the importance of global collaboration and the shared goal of improving care for patients everywhere, said Cho. Were grateful for the efforts of all of the authors, each of whom played a valuable role in this discovery.

These findings would only be possible with the kind of large collaborative efforts that supports this study. Not only do the results build on our knowledge of COPD, but also reveal potential links with other lung diseases, like pulmonary fibrosis and asthma and can form the underpinnings of a precision medicine strategy for the treatment of more than one lung disease, said Dr. James Kiley, Director of the Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This research was funded by:

NHLBI R01 HL084323, R01 HL113264, R01 HL089856, and P01 HL105339; K08 HL097029 and R01 HL113264, R01 HL089897 and P01 HL114501; the Alpha-1 Foundation and a VA Research Career Scientist award.

The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study is carried out as a collaborative study supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts (HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN268201100010C, HHSN268201100011C, and HHSN268201100012C), R01HL087641, R01HL59367 and R01HL086694; National Human Genome Research Institute contract U01HG004402; and National Institutes of Health contract HHSN268200625226C. Infrastructure was partly supported by Grant Number UL1RR025005, a component of the National Institutes of Health and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. Nora Franceschini is supported by R21HL123677-01. This work was also supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

We acknowledge use of phenotype and genotype data from the British 1958 Birth Cohort DNA collection, funded by the Medical Research Council grant G0000934 and the Wellcome Trust grant 068545/Z/02. Genotyping for the B58C-WTCCC subset was funded by the Wellcome Trust grant 076113/B/04/Z. The B58C-T1DGC genotyping utilized resources provided by the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium, a collaborative clinical study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) and supported by U01 DK062418. B58C-T1DGC GWAS data were deposited by the Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR), University of Cambridge, which is funded by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre; the CIMR is in receipt of a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (079895). The B58C-GABRIEL genotyping was supported by a contract from the European Commission Framework Programme 6 (018996) and grants from the French Ministry of Research.

This CHS research was supported by NHLBI contracts HHSN268201200036C, HHSN268200800007C, HHSN268200960009C, N01HC55222, N01HC85079, N01HC85080, N01HC85081, N01HC85082, N01HC85083, N01HC85086; and NHLBI grants U01HL080295, R01HL087652, R01HL105756, R01HL103612, R01HL085251, and R01HL120393 with additional contribution from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Additional support was provided through R01AG023629 from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). A full list of principal CHS investigators and institutions can be found at CHS-NHLBI.org.

The provision of genotyping data was supported in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, CTSI grant UL1TR000124, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease Diabetes Research Center (DRC) grant DK063491 to the Southern California Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center.

The COPACETIC study was supported by a European Union FP7 grant (201379, COPACETIC). NELSON was funded by Zorg Onderzoek Nederland-Medische Wetenschappen, KWF Kankerbestrijding, Stichting Centraal Fonds Reserves van Voormalig Vrijwillige Ziekenfondsverzekeringen, Siemens Germany, G. Ph. Verhagen Stichting, Rotterdam Oncologic Thoracic Steering Committee, Erasmus Trust Fund, Stichting tegen Kanker. Kim de Jong is supported by grant number 4.113.007 the Lung Foundation Netherlands.

The COPDGene project (NCT00608764) was supported by Award Number R01HL089897 and Award Number R01HL089856 from the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute. The COPDGene project is also supported by the COPD Foundation through contributions made to an Industry Advisory Board comprised of AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, Pfizer, Siemens, Sunovion, and GlaxoSmithKline.

The ECLIPSE study (NCT00292552; GSK code SCO104960) was funded by GSK.

This work was partially supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes Framingham Heart Study (contract number N01-HC-25195) and its contract with Affymetrix, Inc for genotyping services (contract number N02-HL-6-4278). Also supported by NIH P01 AI050516.

KARE was funded by the Consortium for Large Scale Genome Wide Association Study III (2011E7300400), which was supported by the genotyping data (the Korean Genome Analysis Project, 4845-301) and the phenotype data (the Korean Genome Epidemiology Study, 4851-302). This was also supported by the National Project for Personalized Genomic Medicine (A111218-11-GM02), Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2013R1A1A1057961) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (NRF-355-2011-1-E00060, NRF-2012R1A6A3A01039450).

The Lung eQTL study at Laval University was supported by the Chaire de pneumologie de la Fondation JD Bgin de lUniversit Laval, the Fondation de lInstitut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Qubec, the Respiratory Health Network of the FRQS, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP 123369), and the Cancer Research Society and Read for the Cure. Y.B. holds a Canada Research Chair in Genomics of Heart and Lung Diseases.

The Norway GenKOLS study (Genetics of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, GSK code RES11080) was funded by GSK.

The ICGN study was funded by GSK.

The LifeLines cohort study was supported by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, the province of Groningen, the European Union (regional development fund), the Northern Netherlands Provinces (SNN), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), University of Groningen, de Nierstichting (the Dutch Kidney Foundation), and the Diabetes Fonds (the Diabetic Foundation).

The Lovelace cohort and analysis was primarily supported by National Cancer Institute grant R01 CA097356 (SAB). The State of New Mexico as a direct appropriation from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to SAB. through collaboration with University of New Mexico provided initial support to establish the LSC. Additional support was provided by NIH/NCI P30 CA118100 (SAB), HL68111 (Y.T.), and HL107873-01 (YT and SB).

MESA and the MESA SHARe project are conducted and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in collaboration with MESA investigators. Support for MESA is provided by contracts N01-HC-95159, N01-HC-95160, N01-HC-95161, N01-HC-95162, N01-HC-95163, N01-HC-95164, N01-HC-95165, N01-HC-95166, N01-HC-95167, N01-HC-95168, N01-HC-95169, UL1-TR-001079, UL1-TR-000040, and DK063491. MESA Family is conducted and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in collaboration with MESA investigators. Support is provided by grants and contracts R01HL071051, R01HL071205, R01HL071250, R01HL071251, R01HL071258, and R01HL071259 by the National Center for Research Resources, Grant UL1RR033176, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Grant UL1TR000124. The MESA Lung study was supported by grants R01 HL077612, R01 HL093081 and RC1 HL100543 from the NHLBI. This publication was developed under a STAR research assistance agreement, No. RD831697 (MESA Air), awarded by the U.S Environmental protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by the EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of the authors and the EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication. Funding for SHARe genotyping was provided by NHLBI Contract N02-HL-64278. Genotyping was performed at Affymetrix (Santa Clara, California, USA) and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (Boston, Massachusetts, USA) using the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0.

The National Emphysema Treatment Trial was supported by the NHLBI N01HR76101, N01HR76102, N01HR76103, N01HR76104, N01HR76105, N01HR76106, N01HR76107, N01HR76108, N01HR76109, N01HR76110, N01HR76111, N01HR76112, N01HR76113, N01HR76114, N01HR76115, N01HR76116, N01HR76118 and N01HR76119, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Normative Aging Study is supported by the Cooperative Studies Program/ERIC of the US Department of Veterans Affairs and is a component of the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC). D.S. is supported by a VA Research Career Scientist award.

The Rotterdam Study is funded by Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands Organization for the Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports, the European Commission (DG XII), and the Municipality of Rotterdam.

The generation and management of GWAS genotype data for the Rotterdam Study (RS I, RS II, RS III) was executed by the Human Genotyping Facility of the Genetic Laboratory of the Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The GWAS datasets are supported by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research NWO Investments (nr. 175.010.2005.011, 911-03-012), the Genetic Laboratory of the Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (014-93-015; RIDE2), the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI)/Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Aging (NCHA), project nr. 050-060-810. The generation and management of spirometric data was supported by FWO project G035014N. Lies Lahousse is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).

SPIROMICS was supported by contracts from the NIH/NHLBI (HHSN268200900013C, HHSN268200900014C, HHSN268200900015C, HHSN268200900016C, HHSN268200900017C, HHSN268200900018C HHSN268200900019C, HHSN268200900020C), which were supplemented by contributions made through the Foundation for the NIH from AstraZeneca; Bellerophon Therapeutics; Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc; Chiesi Farmaceutici SpA; Forest Research Institute, Inc; GSK; Grifols Therapeutics, Inc; Ikaria, Inc; Nycomed GmbH; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc; and Sanofi.

The UK BiLEVE study was funded by a Medical Research Council (MRC) strategic award to M.D.T., I.P.H., D.P.S. and L.V.W. (MC_PC_12010). The research undertaken by M.D.T., M.S.A., L.V.W. and N.S. was partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. M.D.T. holds a Medical Research Council Senior Clinical Fellowship (G0902313). This research used the ALICE High Performance Computing Facility at the University of Leicester. The Universities of Leicester and Nottingham acknowledge receipt of a Collaborative Research and Development grant from the Healthcare and Bioscience iNet, a project funded by the East Midlands Development Agency, part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Medilink East Midlands. I.P.H. holds a Medical Research Council programme grant (G1000861).

This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource under Application Number 648. The research undertaken by M.D.T., M.S.A., L.V.W. and N.S. was partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Brigham And Womens Hospital

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New Genetic Markers for COPD Discovered – HealthCanal.com (press release) (blog)

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Unnecessary fighting south of the border: Mexico should ask Trump to pay for the drug war – Salon

Posted: February 13, 2017 at 9:50 am

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Attention deficit disorder isnt usually a welcome presidential attribute, but Mexicans can be thankful that Donald Trump has temporarily shifted his focus away from their country to pick fights instead with Iran, the European Union, China, California and the U.S. media.

The last time Trump addressed Mexico, right after the election, the peso fell 17 percent. Within days of his inauguration, Trump demanded that Mexico pay for a border wall, prompting cancellation of his planned summit meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pea Nieto.

As former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhanlamented, it took only one week of bilateral engagement between the new U.S. administration and Mexico to throw the relationship into a tailspin. That relationship would be better if Trump had stuck to theview he expressedin November 2015: I dont care about Mexico, honestly. I really dont care about Mexico.

Someday soon, however, Trump will rediscover his interest in Mexico, and relations will likely suffer again. But Mexico need not take his abuse lying down. As the buyer of more than aquartertrilliondollars in U.S. exports the second largest market in the world for U.S. goods Mexico has some leverage if Trump tries to play rough with tariffs and trade.

And if Trump persists in sending a bill to Mexico City for his wall, Pea should seriously consider sending a bill in return to Washington to pay for the U.S. drug war.

The high cost to Mexico of the U.S. drug war

For years now, Mexico has paid an extraordinarily high price in lives and social disruption for Washingtons insistence that North Americas drug problem be tackled south of the border, where the drugs are grown and transported, rather than primarily in clinics and halfway houses at home to treat the medical and psychological issues of users.

Successive administrations, starting with President Richard Nixon, have demanded tough border controls, aerial spraying programs and DEA-backed anti-cartel operations in Mexico. All their efforts and sacrifices have been for naught. U.S. residentscurrentlyexport up to $29 billion in cash to Mexican traffickers each year to buy marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin.

Forcing that trade underground has taken a terrible toll on Mexico in terms of violence, corruption and social upheaval. Since 2006, when President Felipe Caldern ordered his military to join the war on drug traffickers, Mexico has lost about200,000 livesand 30,000 more have disappeared,dwarfingthe civilian death toll in Afghanistan and Iraq over that period.

The majority of them were victims of criminal organizations, but human rights organizations also reportsoaring rates of human rights violations, including torture and killing, committed by security forces.

The2016 Global Peace Index, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace, estimates the total cost of violence in Mexico at $273 billion, or 14 percent of GDP, with no end in sight.Direct fiscal costsof fighting the war on crime were about $32 billion in 2015 alone. Yet the United States has contributed only about $2.5 billion since fiscal 2008 to Mexicos drug war, under the so-called Merida Initiative.

Mexicos pain shows no signs of easing. The New York Timesreportedin December that Mexico suffered more than 17,000 homicides in the first 10 months of last year, the highest total since 2012. The relapse in security has unnerved Mexico and led many to wonder whether the country is on the brink of a bloody, all-out war between criminal groups, it said.

Time for an alternative

In his last phone call with Mexican President Pea,Trump reportedly complained, You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have to be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out. According to one disputed account,Trump threatenedto send U.S. troops south of the border if Mexico doesnt do more to stop the drug problem.

Pea can continue to do Washingtons bidding,ensuring his political demise, or he can challenge Trump by asking why Mexico should fight North Americas drug war on its own soil and at its own expense. If he goes the latter route, hell have plenty of good company.

Former heads of state from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, along with other distinguished members of theGlobal Commission on Drug Policy, have called for normalization of drugs eliminating black markets and incentives for violence by legalizing individual possession and cultivation of drugs while instituting public health regulations. They note that such programs have succeeded admirably in Portugal and the Netherlands at reducing both the criminal and public health costs of drug abuse.

The harms created through implementing punitive drug laws cannot be overstated when it comes to both their severity and scope, they assert in their 2016 report, Advancing Drug Policy Reform. Thus, we need new approaches that uphold the principles of human dignity, the right to privacy and the rule of law, and recognize that people will always use drugs. In order to uphold these principles all penalties both criminal and civil must be abolished for the possession of drugs for personal use.

Support for decriminalization is growing in Mexico, where the supreme court in 2015approvedgrowing and smoking marijuana for personal use. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox nowadvocateslegalizing all drugs over a transition period of up to a decade.

Jorge Castaeda, a former Mexican foreign minister, recentlyopined, Mexico should take advantage of Californias decision to legalize recreational marijuana. Regardless of Mr. Trumps victory, the approval of the proposition in the United States most populous state makes Mexicos war on drugs ridiculous. What is the purpose of sending Mexican soldiers to burn fields, search trucks and look for narco-tunnels if, once our marijuana makes it into California, it can be sold at the local 7-Eleven?

Criticsrightly point out that what works in the Netherlands wont necessarily solve Mexicos problems. Its powerful drug gangs have diversified into a host of other violent criminal enterprises. They control territory, intimidate or corrupt law enforcement, and kill with impunity. Legalizing drug sales wont end their criminal ways, but it could erode their profits and let police focus on universally despised crimes with direct victims murder, kidnapping, extortion and the like.

As Mexican journalist Jos Luis Pardo Veirasremarkedlast year, Decriminalizing drug use will not fix a deeply rooted problem in this country, but it will allow Mexicans to differentiate between drugs and the war on drugs, between drug users and drug traffickers. This is the first step in acknowledging that a different approach is possible.

As for Trump, let him build his wall and see if that keeps out all the drugs. If not, maybe by then Mexico will be able to offer some useful advice on how to fight the drug problem not with guns, but with more enlightened policies.

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The ‘Dutch disease’ reexamined: Resource booms can benefit the wider economy – USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)

Posted: at 9:16 am

Do resource booms enhance growth in a country or lead to a crowding out of other tradable industries, such as manufacturing? Traditional theories suggest that crowding-out effects dominate. The idea is that gains from the boom largely accrue to the profitable sectors servicing the resource industry, while the rest of the country suffers adverse effects from increased wage costs, an appreciated exchange rate and a lack of competitiveness as a result of the boom.

In the research literature, such a phenomenon is commonly been referred to as Dutch disease, based on similar experiences in the Netherlands in the 1960s. But traditional studies of Dutch disease do not account for productivity spillovers between the booming resource sector and other non-resource sectors. We put forward a simple theory model that allows for such spillovers. We then quantify these spillovers empirically, allowing for measurement of both resource and spending effects through a large panel of variables.

Using mineral abundant Australia and petroleum rich Norway as representative cases studies, we find that a booming resource sector has positive effects on non-resource sectors, effects that have not been captured in previous analysis. The wider benefits for the economy are particularly evident when taking account of productivity spillovers and learning-by-doing between industries. The most positively affected sectors from a resource boom are construction and services. Yet, manufacturing also benefits, though less so than the other industries.

Augmenting traditional Dutch disease theories

Experience in resource-rich countries suggests that there may be important spillovers from the resource sectors to other industries. Norway is good example. As the development of offshore oil often demands complicated technical solutions, this could in itself generate positive knowledge externalities that benefit other sectors. And since these sectors trade with other industries in the economy, there may be learning by doing spillovers to the overall economy.

Traditional Dutch disease theories do not account for such spillovers. The model developed in this study does take account of them. We allow for direct productivity spillovers from the resource sector to both the traded and non-traded sector.

We further assume that there is learning-by-doing in the traded and non-traded sectors, as well as learning spillovers between these sectors. Hence, we extend the more traditional model of learning-by-doing with technology spillovers from the resource sector. To the extent that the natural resource sector crowds in productivity in the other sectors, the growth rate in the overall economy will also increase.

The positive effects of a resource boom

We test the predictions from our suggested theoretical model against data by estimating a dynamic factor model that includes separate activity factors for the resource and non-resource sectors in addition to global activity and the real commodity price.

This makes it possible to examine separately the windfall gains associated with resource booms (that is, volume changes) from commodity price changes, while also allowing global demand to affect commodity prices.

The main finding emphasises that there are large and positive spillovers from the exploration of natural resources to the non-resource industries in both Norway and Australia. In particular, in the wake of the resource boom, productivity, output and employment increase for a prolonged period of time in both countries, see Figure 1.

The expansion in Norway is substantial; after one to two years, 25-30per cent of the variation in non-resource GDP is explained by the resource boom, while the comparable numbers are 43-50 per cent for productivity. In Australia, the expansion is more modest: 10-15 per cent of value added in non-mining is explained by the resource boom, while 5-6 per cent of productivity is explained by the same shock.

Examining the different industries, we confirm that value added and employment increase in the non-traded sectors relative to the traded sectors, suggesting a two-speed transmission phase. This is in particular evident in Australia. The most positively affected sectors are construction and business services. Still, and in contrast to the predictions from the traditional Dutch disease theories, manufacturing also benefits from the resource boom, although less so than the other industries see Figure 2.


Hilde C. Bjrnlandis Professor of Economics at BI Norwegian Business School and Director at the Center for Applied Macro-and Petroleum economics (CAMP). She is also scientific advisor atthe research department of Norges Bank and member of the Swedish Fiscal Policy Council. Her main research interests are applied macroeconomics and time series. Special interests include the study of natural resources, business cycles, andmonetary and fiscal policy. Dr.Bjrnland has published extensively in top international journals. She is also the co-author of the book: Applied Time Series For Macroeconomics. Email:hilde.c.bjornland@bi.no

Leif Anders Thorsrudis a Senior Researcher in Monetary Policy Research at Norges Bank and Researcher II at the BI Norwegian Business School and Center for Applied Macro and Petroleum Economics.He obtained his Ph.D. at the BI Norwegian Business School in 2014. Dr. Thorsruds research on forecasting and energy economics has been published in top field international journals. Currently his research agenda centres on how unstructured data sources can be used to understand macroeconomic fluctuations. He co-authored the book: Applied Time Series For Macroeconomics. Email: leif.a.thorsrud@bi.no

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The ‘Dutch disease’ reexamined: Resource booms can benefit the wider economy – USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)

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